Category Archives: Other Reviews
The aspect of Superman which has been oft specifically contrasted in the aspect of control but more egregiously in certain ideas the aspect of absolute power within his identity. For many shapes and forms, he is considered a god albeit a benign one. The aspect that “Man Of Steel” [Brian Michael Bendis/DC/184pgs] poses, unlike “Superman II”, is not domination but annihilation from a being sworn to kill everything of Krypton because it believes that the Kryptonians are a blight on the Galaxy. What is interesting here is the integration of Jal-El, the father of Kal, in a portal when he comes to take Superman’s son [Jonathan] with Lois Lane to show him beyond the basic nature of man. It is much like The Traveler or Q in “Star Trek The Next Generation” summoning their wards or Wesley. The young are seduced by the idea of adventure and not necessarily the end game. The great thing about the art here (as well as the writing) is that you can see the hurt in Clark’s face as he is separated from his new family. All which he lost in the destruction of Krypton comes back cyclically and it can be seen on his face. And when the scourge reaches earth most of his friends including the Justice League can’t help him at all. It is all a matter of perspective. Supergirl finds him at one point buried in the moon of his own accord so the beast pursuing him does not attack Earth again. It may seem like a passive move but interestingly it rings true. Another sequence, which involves the destruction of the minimized city of Kandor which Supes was able to save from Krypton, shows Kal El breaking down in Supergirls arms. We also see his vulnerability when Lois is gone that he is attracted to a female fire chief with that same spark as Lois. There are also certain images like when Superman seems to be screaming in rage as he lifts the Kryptonian killer out of the atmosphere which is chilling. As time evolves, so must Superman and the story in this volume does just that.
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of the reluctant hero who is motivated by that secondary voice inside him has been the motivation of many a superhero and villain. The texture of the upcoming “Venom” specifically adheres to that idea. With “Shadowman Vol. 2 – Dead & Gone” [Andy Diggle/Valient/112pgs], that aspect of consciousness is percolated beyond the grave in how that inherent soul or “loa” transfers back in time. Starting off within the gangster perception where (like “The Shadow” but better dressed), the Shadowman finds those moving against the law while himself staying outside the law. The jazz perception and his texture within that (in his civilian mode as a saxaphonist) works well despite being passive in an altruistic way. Once a mystical scythe opens him up to betrayal, his luck proceeds downhill fast until he himself is cornered by the very gangsters he fought who don’t know his real identity. The following loa intrusions in the Old West and loss of identity within defending slaves against brutal owners gives way to a prehistoric preamble involving an overlord who himself is possessed by a loa. Our protagonist exists in between the darkness but gets to witness and then become a part of the story being shown to him. The ideal presents that it is the dark will of man that can corrupt the immortal texture of a loa. The loa is trapped between two worlds (and like “Venom”) seems to slightly bend to the will of its host whilst still moving towards their ultimate goal, whatever that may be. There seem to also be ethereal forces at work whose will is different but seemingly is beyond the comprehension of man. The rust colored progressions from the dark blacks and blues of the early 20th century give the story an aspect of earthen connection which leads in distinctive parallel to the story’s epiologue and resolution which speaks more to a search for self than the defeat of evil.
By Tim Wassberg
The essence of James Bond in recent years has retraced to the idea of the reluctant hero who does what he does because that is what he is good at. The recent Bond films have focus on balancing that with large set pieces that serve a bigger story whether it be the condemnation of M or a love lost. In “James Bond: The Body” [Ales Kot/Dynamite/152pgs], the story told in 5 separate progressions shows the physical toll and the quiet moments that could bring such a man back from the brink. The beginning is simply a tale of what caused 3 broken ribs and the simply fact that painkillers simply deaden the pain. In order to understand it, Bond lives by it. Another story which motivates the ideal that Bond is fallible rests when he is doing an interrogation of a female operative/scientist who may or may not be assisting a chemical attack in Britain. The idea becomes “what is good?” He can try to torture her to find out what he wants but instead takes a more civil approach with a truth serum personification but ultimately resorts to water boarding. The result tests his resolve and in many ways strains the idea of what he is trying to accomplish. The continuing story then goes by a basis of sociology as Bond poses as an arms dealer to infiltrate a business circle of Neo Nazis. A brawl ensues. A similar context occurs in another story where a local policeman seems too trigger happy with a taser before Bond can properly identify himself when he is beating someone else up. The true integral intention of “The Body” reflects in two smaller stories when Bond is saved and defends a cottage in a forest against an adversary with a female host who is both strong and suicidal. It is the most peace he has found in a while and that speaks to something bigger in terms of his psychological make up. This also reflects in the final story with his hanging out in a pub with longtime American co-operative Felix Leiter over a beer as a mark is taken out quietly via poison in the back bathroom as they drink a pint. It is these quiet moments that help give this iteration of a well known character a little more breath. In one image in the graphic novel, Bond dives with a bomb that needs to exploded underwater in the Thames and as he disappears, the muddy element of his soul becomes clear.
By Tim Wassberg